Taking on the responsibility of caring for a child is a big decision and there are several factors to consider before beginning the process, regardless of whether you are a parent or a member of the child’s more extended family. Luckily, we have some tips for grandparents seeking custody of their grandkids. More grandparents than ever are taking over the care of their grandchildren. This might be for any number of reasons, ranging from a parent’s drug use, neglect or abuse of their child, or something more innocuous like an inability to provide financial or emotional support for their child based on temporary hardships. Whatever the reason for your decision, here are some things that might change when you take custody of your grandkids:
Your social life
Kids require time and attention. You will once again be responsible for attending parent-teacher meetings, going to soccer practice, and making sure they get to the doctor. Grandkids are great. However, a grandparent’s responsibilities are often significantly less than that of someone with full or even partial legal custody of a child. These responsibilities are bound to interfere at some point with certain freedoms most of us try to take advantage of once the kids are out of the house.
Your relationship with your partner
You already had your own children, and they grew up and moved out. But now you have kids in the house again. It is important to think about the impact this decision will have on your husband or wife; you may not have as much time for each other as you did before. Planning date nights or vacations can be much more difficult when you have young people to consider.
Your relationship with yourself
This may be outweighed by the peace of mind you achieve in knowing your grandkids are being properly cared for. But remember that there will likely be significantly less time for bubble baths, reading, sleeping late, or quiet cups of coffee in the morning.
Your relationship with your own children
Relinquishing custody can be devastating and humiliating for parents, and confusing for children. Nevertheless, all children deserve the stability necessary for them to thrive. Unfortunately, parents aren’t always able to provide that stability. They may know at some level that their kids are better off with you. Still, that realization can lead to feelings of resentment for everyone involved.
As people age, they tend to experience more health problems. Even if you are a basically healthy person, you may have less physical ability to keep up with children than when you had your own kids. If you do have known health issues, planning hospital or doctor visits around childcare availability can be a challenge. Plus, daily stressors associated with child-related responsibilities can have a cumulative effect on anyone’s mental health over the course of time, even in the best of circumstances.
We don’t tell you this to talk you out of doing what is best for your grandchildren. However, we do want you to be fully aware of what you are taking on. Sometimes grandparents realize they have accepted more responsibility than they can handle. Then they may turn over custody to the state, or return them to an unfit parent. As you can imagine, a child can be even more traumatized than if they had never been removed from their parents’ home to begin with.
Think about these tips for grandparents seeking custody of your grandkids. If you still feel your grandchildren would be best supported under your care, give Held Law Firm a call at (865) 685-4780. We are here to advocate for our client’s best interests, in whatever form that may take.
The information in this blog was compiled and written by Faith Held.